Not on Ramaphosa’s Watch. South Africa Will not Become the Next Venezuela or Zimbabwe

Not under Ramaphosa's watch
President Cyril Ramaphosa responds to questions in parliament. Source: Creative Commons

Roelf Meyer – known for negotiating on behalf of the National Party to end apartheid in South Africa – said that the country will not turn into another Zimbabwe or Venezuela under Ramaphosa’s watch, wrote June 15.

South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa has been ticking all the right boxes since assuming power in 2018 following the resignation of his predecessor Jacob Zuma and later on when he won the country’s recent May 8 elections.

Meyer, a recipient of the civilian honor, the Order of the Baobab, spoke at the Cape Town Press Club saying Ramaphosa is suited for the country’s top job because he is a constitutionalist and a modellist.

He was quoted saying:

“What I mean when I say he is a modellist is that he will never allow this country to follow the example of Venezuela, Cuba or Zimbabwe. Full stop.”

Ramaphosa’s watch and the expropriation of land

While Ramaphosa’s presidency does not completely hinge on how he handles the land question, it is something that he hopes to solve in a delicate and diplomatic manner.

South Africa’s expropriation of land without compensation is the campaign ticket of the country’s third largest political party – the Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) – led by the firebrand Julius Malema, a product of the ruling party’s Youth League.

Ramaphosa’s dilemma is to appear as a president who understands the plight of the black people who are calling for the expropriation of land and at the same time, avoid disrupting the country’s economy.

South Africa has learned from its neighbors Zimbabwe that expropriation of land – with or without compensation – is a dangerous game, especially if not handled well. Zimbabwe’s chaotic land reform killed a once thriving and promising economy regarded (at the time) as the breadbasket of Southern Africa.

Under no circumstances will Ramaphosa consider running a socialist country given its spectacular failures in countries such as Venezuela.

Ever since coming into power, Ramaphosa has been on an offensive foreign investment drive. And it has been bearing fruits too. The local market responded very well to his election victory. South Africa has taken a different shift under Ramaphosa’s watch.

Ramaphosa differs from his predecessor

Ramaphosa has carved his own path as tries to steer clear from his predecessor’s presidency.

Zuma is accused of costing the country’s economy $83 billion during his nine-year tenure as the president of the nation in what many prefer to call “the lost decade.”

The former president was implicated in State Capture due to his friendship with the influential and controversial Gupta family.

Comparing Ramaphosa and Zuma, Meyer said,

 “Under Zuma, there was no relationship between the private sector and government. Nothing. Zuma didn’t understand business at all.”